Monday, June 14, 2010

The Dog Ate My Planner

Hey,
This week has been a good week. Today we find out about transfers and I'm about 50/50 split about whether Sister Farr will stay or not. But this I do know, it's my LAST transfer ever. 6 more weeks to be a full-time missionary and serve the Lord. Yikes, it's a sad thought which impels me to want to work even harder than ever. We have a LOT of good people we are teaching right now, and the people we are teaching right now are the ones who will be ready for baptism in July so it's imperative that I continue working hard and don't slack off.
This was a bit of a crazy week. I lost my planner. I realized that it was missing after we had been working a street, then visiting a lot of businesses to fill up pass-a-long car stands. I noticed it when we were eating at our friendly neighborhood "Boot Co. Restaurant"--a local restaurant that feeds the missionaries for free. So we go once a week and enjoy the burgers, and..well burgers mostly because they're just so good! I noticed it and we started backtracking my steps. I couldn't find it. The next day we decided to go back to one of the streets we had been working the day before. We parked in the same place where the car was parked a day earlier and we saw all my pass-a-long cards strewn across a few yards. We tried to follow the trail, but it didn't lead anywhere. I retrieved probably nearly all the cards, but not the planner. I was bummed. So I had to procure another one (which is hard to do because they really don't let you have extras) from another missionary who had an extra. When we picked up all the cards, a few were all demolished with dents. At first I thought that a dog had eaten the planner and carried it away, but I realized later that it must have just been on the road and the cars kept driving over it and the bumps weren't dog bits, but rather the imprints of the little rocks and gravel on the road.
We had another dog encounter this week. We were planning in the living room one night at 9:30, and we heard this shriek. I thought it was a bat, while Sister Farr thought it was a mouse. Then we heard this scratching at the door and we both hopped up and peeked on the door while opening it. To our surprise, it was a little brown puppy! She was scared from the thunder outside. We gave her some water because she was so thirsty (she drank 2 bowls) and then just pet her for a while (while not letting her come inside). The whole time this was happening, the line from the white handbook kept flashing thought my mind, "Do not have pets of any kind." She has a collar, so she must belong to somebody. So, here it is a week later and she still is hanging out outside of our house. We gave her a bath too. But she's not our pet! Haha. We put up "found dog" signs, but I don't think people do that here in Raymondville. Too many strays to worry about it. So..we may have to call the pound soon. She keeps bringing ALL sort of junk into the yard and chewing it up. Even some poor girls flip flips are scattered in pieces around the lawn....
Oh, since I'm on a dog story kick, I must inform everyone that a few weeks ago, I hit a dog in the car while driving on the Business 77. It was walking with her owner and suddenly just jetted out into the street for no reason. I couldn't really do anything to avoid hitting old "Goldie." Her owner ran up and gave me the biggest stink eye, but it wasn't my fault she wasn't on a leash! She seemed like she was going to die. We said a prayer for her, but I don't think the woman had confidence in us. We happened to have hit it right in front of her pastor's home, so he came out and said a prayer and then the dog just hopped up and was fine. So either way, the power of prayer worked and the dog was able to walk home.
Ok, enough dog stories (seriously though, if you were in Raymondville, you would understand why the majority of the time, dogs are involved). We are having a baptism this week--Jessica and Martha. Their mom was Belinda who was at one point super interested, but then got back into her drug and drinking habit and now just yells and screams all the time with blood shot eyes. It's sad, but she's supportive of the girls. Although, certain members of the ward are not supportive and keep telling us that they're "not ready" and such, so it's hard when we've already gotten that confirmation from the Lord. But they're going to girl's camp this week, so they'll be on a spiritual high by the weekend when they're baptized. Yay girl's camp. It's just amazing and does wonders.
We were teaching machines this week. By Wednesday, we had 17 investigator lessons taught--and the Standard of Excellence for the mission is to teach 20 a week. So it was good. We were focusing on all the people who had attended church, but by the end of the week, Satan really got in the way and it was hard to teach them at the end. One of our investigators (Eva) is a lesbian (kind of, I don't think she really is, this is just her first homosexual relationship after MANY failed ones with men), so we decided to teach the law of chastity up front so that she would know it was a requirement for her baptism. Well, she seemed to understand and then that night came to our Movie Night with her girlfriend and kids. According to Elder Guillen, they were holding hands. Hm... I'm not quire sure she committed to live it. Then she didn't show up for church and we dropped by yesterday to see how she was and Sister Farr said that the front door was open and she could see all the way in the back of the house and saw Eva lying on her bed next to her girlfriend and then when she knocked, the door just closed. So yeah. Another one was just plain hard to catch and another one split up with his girlfriend after we taught them Law of Chastity. Yikes, missionary work is so stressful. Sometimes I just get so tired with everyone and want to just give up on them. But seconds later, I realize that Heavenly Father loves these people and that he would never give up on them. I just need to be more patient, loving and understanding. Usually after thinking that, I am able to keep going to help them. As Utchdorf said in his priesthood session talk, "Continue in Patience": "

As the Lord is patient with us, let us be patient with those we serve. Understand that they, like us, are imperfect. They, like us, make mistakes. They, like us, want others to give them the benefit of the doubt. Never give up on anyone. And that includes not giving up on yourself.

Recently, a recent covert for only 6 months--named Aurelio (or "Junior" to us missionaries)--was called to be the first counsellor in the branch presidency. Quite a shock at first, but I felt the Spirit confirm that he was the one for the job and had been prepared for this calling. He was preparing to be a Methodist minister at one point. But anyway, we teach him his recent convert lessons about every 2 weeks or so. He's great and will read anything you assign him. He said that the other missionaries never stopped by after he was baptized (which is NOT what they're supposed to do). So we taught him the lessons again, but definitely more in detail that you would anyone else (Teaching the Plan of Salvation took two parts and was SO much fun going into it). Anyways, yesterday after the lesson, he gave us both cards that he had made. He was thanking us for everything we had done for him. In mine, he mentioned, "I know that you have charity. I can feel it when you talk to others...one day I hope to have charity like you." I was touched. Sister Farr later brought to my attention, "How interesting that he mentioned charity because that's the thing that you have been working on your whole mission." In that moment, I felt like crying. I've been working so hard to learn charity and love others. Many many times, I've just been so frustrated with myself and wonder if I've really change at all! Or if I'm still the old, selfish, mean, bratty self that I used to be. It's hard to see the changes in yourself, especially when you tend to only focus on the negative things that need fixing). It's hard to step back and observe the beauty of the whole edifice, when your hunched over fretting about the chipped molding on the corner. But I was grateful for Junior for writing that. It really made me realize that I have grown and changed and improved over the course of this mission. I'm not the same person I was when I entered the MTC and I'm certainly glad that I won't be that same person walking off the plane. I still have a long way to go, but I'm grateful for the effect this mission has had in changing my heart.

I love you all. Have a great week everyone. Here's hoping that I stay in Raymondville for my last transfer!

Love,

Sister Burt


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